Well…the day finally arrived. That moment I’d been fearing for months when my forty-year-old self would welcome a brand new baby into the world that I was once again responsible for. And now that she’s here and we have her home, I’ve gained a little perspective. Some of the things I was worried about have been exactly what I feared. Others? Not so much. And…there’ve been a few things come up I hadn’t counted on in the least. So, in honor of sleepless nights and dirty diapers, I present my list of pros and cons regarding having a new baby at a time when I should be focused on my mid-life crisis.
CON: Okay, we are going to get this one out of the way up front. EXHAUSTION!!! It is one thing to deal with late nights and early mornings in your 20’s or even early 30’s when your body is in its prime. It’s a whole new ball game when you’re already losing sleep because of the ailments of age. Here’s a hint: aching hips and lower back pain are only exacerbated when you try to curl up in positions that shouldn’t be attempted by anyone who isn’t a Cirque du Soliel performer. And yet, that is exactly what babies require you to do to keep them quiet at 4:30 in the morning. I still haven’t been able to figure out how my arm ended up so far behind my head that morning not long ago, which led to a desperate call to the chiropracter later that day. Thankfully, she is already sleeping better so hopefully this issue will be short-lived.
PRO: Having a baby this late in life means that as long as you aren’t just getting started with this parenting thing, you now have veritable army at your despotic disposal. When Abby was born 14+ years ago, there was nothing more frustrating than taking that screaming baby who had just pooped for the 4th time in an hour and positioning her on the changing pad, only to realize you forgot to get the wipes. Wouldn’t that have been a good thing to realize before you removed the diaper? Yes, yes it would have. Back then, I was on my own and it usually didn’t end well. But these days? I can sit in my laz-y-boy throne and bark decrees to the minions who rely upon me to eat.
“Braden, bring me the changing pad!”
“Abby, bring the wipes! And grab her pacifier while you’re at it.”
“Logan, throw this diaper away! Don’t give me that face. Do you want an extra week cleaning the kitchen? I didn’t think so.”
CON: At the end of the day, my facist-like tactics only carry me so far. I’m still the one changing the diaper. Granted, Shannon changes a whole lot more of them than me, but still. It is much harder to get myself down on the floor and into position than it used to be. And my gosh, did they all squirm this much?
PRO: I’m getting to catch up on a lot of television shows that I have missed out on because my schedule hasn’t allowed it. Case in point: Modern Family just started showing re-runs on the USA network. I have been told over and over again how funny this show is, but just haven’t found the time to watch it. Well, now, I have hours to spend holding a baby, praying she goes to sleep for real this time. So what is there to do but watch TV. (I know some would argue for reading my scriptures, reading the Ensign, meditating for enlightenment, but…I’m gonna opt for TV most of the time.) And come to find out, Modern Family is about as funny as everyone said it was. Although I do have one observation. I know I’m late to the party on this, but does anyone else think that Sofia Vergara is really just some mad scientist’s clone of Charro from the 1970’s that he kept hidden until 2008 when he chose to release her on a new and unsuspecting generation? If this observation has been made many times before, I apologize. But if it hasn’t…Beware The Love Boat reboot that is coming with perennial guest star…SOFIA VERGARA as April Lopez. (For those with no clue what I’m talking about, Youtube can take care of this for you.)
CON: I can’t tell you how hard it is to bring my other four children to church all by myself while my wife stays home with Maggie. It wouldn’t be so bad if I weren’t on the stand and therefore powerless to do anything about behavior that might not be exactly what I would choose to put on display as an example of my parenting philosophies. It’s amazing how quickly they all figured out that if they don’t look my direction during sacrament meeting, they have a perfectly legitimate card to play when I get on to them later. “I didn’t know I was doing anything wrong when I took Braden’s glasses and hurled them across the chapel. Nobody said anything to me.” Nevermind that I probably look like I’m going into anaphylactic shock up on the stand trying to get their attention without drawing any attention to myself.
PRO: Back in the TV realm, I haven’t been able to watch this much football without feelings of guilt in years. I got to watch the entire ASU/Wisconsin game while holding the baby in the hospital. I got to watch a good portion of the Monday nighter a week ago between Denver and Oakland (we did fit Family Home Evening in there as well. Spiritual component and all), again while holding the baby. And Saturday night, I got to watch the entire ASU smackdown of USC while babysitting. It was awesome. I need to get this girl a couple of ASU onesies so that we can get this die-hard fanhood down while her brain is at her most fertile. I’ve already lost Abby to BYU. I don’t want to make that mistake again with my youngest.
CON: Because Maggie can’t go out into public for at least a month, I have had to miss some of my kid’s events. I missed Logan receiving his Wolf badge at pack meeting and I missed seeing him win his soccer game this past Saturday.
PRO: Because Maggie can’t go out into public for at least a month, I have been spared some of my kid’s events. Take this last Saturday when I didn’t have to go out to a dustbowl-that passes as a soccer field-at noon in the Arizona sun. Instead, I got to hear all about my son’s first win as he excitedly told me about it later. And he wasn’t upset at all that I’d missed it, because he loves Maggie as much as the rest of us and he completely understood that only one parent could be there. Good job, Mom.
CON: She’s a girl. Which means there is a very real chance I need to start preparing for the day when I will have to pay for a wedding at the exact same time I would hope to be preparing for retirement. Or I can just accept that the first item will put the second one off for an additional five years.
PRO: I mean, come on. She’s a perfect little girl who has her daddy wrapped around her finger already.
The holidays will be here before you know it. Nothing says, “Merry Christmas loved family member,” than a book centered on a family member dying. THE RELUCTANT BLOGGER is still available wherever LDS books are sold and at the links listed above. It is also available on Kindle for $3.99